In the UK this week there have been two big fundraising events, the BBC Children in Need appeal and the release of the new Band Aid song to raise money for the Ebola crisis. Both events have been met with some interesting responses from the public and press alike.
Both things have raised a lot of money and surpassed targets and hopes, but they have brought in to question the involvement of celebrities when it comes to raising money.
The celebrities involved in both projects have had their motives brought in to question. Some of those that featured on Children in Need have been accused of using the very popular TV telethon to promote tours and CDs. Whereas with Band Aid celebrities have been named and shamed for not getting involved with the project and the ones featured on it are being questioned over their commitment to the cause they are promoting.
When it comes to raising money for charity is it a case of the end justifies the mean? Does it matter about self-promotion as long as money is made? Does it matter that Band Aid are using the same song for third time and using Internet celebrities?
I think we live in a more questioning society today than we did when both these projects came round for the first time, a society that is now always looking for an ulterior motive and not believing the best in people. When someone is publically fronting a good cause is it impossible not to think in the back of your head – are they doing it a bit to promote themselves?
Most celebrities have publicists and PR people who will do anything to get them a good bit of PR so its very hard for a good deed or act not to have a media story made out of it these days, but do these stories do more harm than good? There are lots of wealthy people out there who do give generously and selflessly to good causes that we will never hear about so we have to be very careful about who we judge.
As a celebrity by putting your name to something you can help them raise more money so I do think it is right that they use their status for good but I think as well as asking their fans to dip in to their pockets they need to do so as well. What is it they say, never ask anyone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.
I think celebrities have a duty but first before just jumping on any cause should think about a cause that means something to them and support it wholeheartedly, rather than just jumping on any fundraising drive. I also think celebrities shouldn’t use charitable endeavours to promote events and products of their own as just by being in the public eye doing good things the press will talk about their events and products, as well as the general public finding out for themselves.
Like my wife put it when we were chatting about this the other night, how can you go on a fundraising programme and tell people about your own event or a product? Because if the viewer spends money on those things they may not give to the charity and you are then taking money from the charity you are there to support.